Published on
01 September 2020

Alex MacFie, from the Field Studies Council (FSC), writes about our exciting new partnership that connects children young people and families to the outdoors.

FSC Scotland were delighted to be invited to work in partnership with Barnardo’s Scotland to deliver the innovative new B-Wild programme. The program will help Barnardo’s Scotland practitioners as well as the young people and families they work with to connect with nature, the environment and the outdoors.

This aligns perfectly with the FSC values of bringing environmental understanding to all through engaging first-hand experiences. Children and young people will play a pivotal role in achieving a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future and B-Wild hopes to help spark and nurture the skills to help them do this. As well as increasing environmental awareness, outdoor experiences are hugely enjoyable for children and young people and they also develop confidence, team work and independence whilst creating long lasting memories. B-Wild and the Field Studies Council really is a match made in heaven!

As a result of the Heritage National Lottery funding we were able to deliver five online sessions live on YouTube. We are now able to share these more widely. So far Barnardo’s Scotland practitioners have participated and viewed them almost 300 times. Sessions covered topics such as bushcraft, insect hunting and orienteering to give staff inspiration for activities that they could run with children and young people in their local spaces. Some activities last 5 minutes, like Human Camera, and others could last a full day, like a Bioblitz. Each activity encompasses a range of subjects such as biology, maths and art and could be adapted to suit any age group from toddlers to teenagers. And of course no outdoor video would be complete without wildlife! One of the stars of the show was the beautiful, hot pink elephant hawk moth (a common species across Scotland) with extra appearances from starfish, mice and beetles.

In addition to activity ideas the sessions also aimed to equip practitioners with general environmental knowledge for leading outdoor activities and cover many health and safety considerations. This can often feel like the biggest barrier to getting into outdoor learning, but B-Wild is helping practitioners break through these barriers. FSC provides its staff with rigorous risk assessment and other training, this knowledge is woven through the sessions. Gradually through practice and communication we hope to see participants skills and confidence grow and we look forward to seeing their progress on our padlet website!

Alex MacFie is Head of Centre Field Studies Council (FSC)